How to stop spam

With Fastmail, you get top-quality spam protection, right out of the box. Even better, our spam filter learns from your actions, so it just keeps getting better.

What is spam?

Spam is unsolicited bulk email. It’s an annoying distraction from the messages you want to receive, and it’s normally trying to sell you something, or trick you into giving away personal or financial details (commonly known as phishing).

Spammers can get your email address when they hack a website where you’ve signed up an account, or find it on a public page on the internet, or just guess common names at a domain. They send millions of emails to every address they can find, in the hope that a small fraction of people respond.

Are newsletters spam?

Whenever you sign up for an account on the internet, you are often asked to opt-in to receiving their newsletter. These can be useful and very much wanted! However, if this happens and you don’t want it, the best way to stop getting these emails is to use Fastmail’s Unsubscribe feature. If we’re not able to offer unsubscribe, you can also use the Block sender feature to ensure any future messages from this sender go straight to the trash.

Spammers meanwhile often don’t send from the same email address twice — and definitely don’t support unsubscribing! — so need to be handled differently.

How Fastmail stops spam

Fastmail’s world-class spam filtering starts the moment another server tries to connect to us to send you an email. Through our extensive, long-term experience running an email service, we’ve been able to closely analyse how spam bots try to deliver email to our servers. Using this data, we’re able to pre-emptively detect and block them from delivering their spam email at all, without rejecting any legitimate mail.

Once we’ve accepted the connection, our servers analyse the content and assign it a score based on how likely it is to be spam. Messages with a score over a certain threshold are sent straight to your spam folder.

How to improve your spam filtering

No service can offer perfect spam filtering — two different people may not even always agree on whether a message is spam! However, Fastmail’s spam filter will also adapt to the mail you receive. The main way you can improve spam filtering is to let us know when we got it wrong:

  • If it’s spam we didn’t catch, hit Report spam in the More menu. We’ll move it to your spam folder and train your message as spam.
  • If it’s in the spam folder but you actually wanted the message, just select it and hit Not spam. We’ll move it back to your inbox and train your personal filter to make it less likely we make a mistake in the future.

It also helps to confirm when we got it right:

  • If it’s in spam and we got it right, just permanently delete it. We’ll train your personal filter to keep sending messages like that to spam.
  • When you’re done with a legitimate message in your inbox, archive it. This will take it out of your inbox but keep it available for searching should you need to reference it later, and will train your personal filter that messages like that are not spam.

Forwarding from another service

Who is sending you the mail gives a lot of information that helps us to do accurate spam filtering. When you forward mail from another service we don’t have access to this, so our spam filtering may not be quite as accurate.

If you are using your own domain for email, we strongly recommend you host it directly with us rather than hosting it elsewhere and forwarding the messages to Fastmail.

If you can’t do this, you can use our advanced spam settings to let us know where you are forwarding from, to help us more accurately check it for spam.